Supermassive black holes (BH) accrete gas from their surroundings and coalesce with companions during galaxy mergers, and both processes change the BH mass and spin. By means of high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations of galaxies, either idealised or embedded within the cosmic web, we explore the effects of interstellar gas dynamics and external perturbations on BH spin evolution. All these physical quantities were evolved on-the-fly in a self-consistent manner. We use a `maximal' model to describe the turbulence induced by stellar feedback to highlight its impact on the angular momentum of the gas accreted by the BH. Periods of intense star formation are followed by phases where stellar feedback drives large-scale outflows and hot bubbles. We find that BH accretion is synchronised with star formation, as only when gas is cold and dense do both processes take place. During such periods, gas motion is dominated by consistent rotation. On the other hand, when stellar feedback becomes substantial, turbulent motion randomises gas angular momentum. However BH accretion is strongly suppressed in that case, as cold and dense gas is lacking. In our cosmological simulation, at very early times (z>6), the galactic disc has not yet settled and no preferred direction exists for the angular momentum of the accreted gas, so the BH spin remains low. As the gas settles into a disc (6>z>3), the BH spin then rapidly reaches its maximal value. At lower redshifts (z<3), even when galaxy mergers flip the direction of the angular momentum of the accreted gas, causing it to counter-rotate, the BH spin magnitude only decreases modestly and temporarily. Should this be a typical evolution scenario for BH, it potentially has dramatic consequences regarding their origin and assembly, as accretion on maximally spinning BH embedded in thin Shakura-Sunyaev disc is significantly reduced.
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL LETTERS 781 (2014) ARTN L20
ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL 793 (2014) ARTN 51
BRAZILIAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS 44 (2014) 415-425
When a dark matter halo moves through a background of dark matter particles, self-interactions can lead to both deceleration and evaporation of the halo and thus shift its centroid relative to the collisionless stars and galaxies. We study the magnitude and time evolution of this shift for two classes of dark matter self-interactions, viz. frequent self-interactions with small momentum transfer (e.g. due to long-range interactions) and rare self-interactions with large momentum transfer (e.g. contact interactions), and find important differences between the two cases. We find that neither effect can be strong enough to completely separate the dark matter halo from the galaxies, if we impose conservative bounds on the self-interaction cross-section. The majority of both populations remain bound to the same gravitational potential and the peaks of their distributions are therefore always coincident. Consequently any apparent separation is mainly due to particles which are leaving the gravitational potential, so will be largest shortly after the collision but not observable in evolved systems. Nevertheless the fraction of collisions with large momentum transfer is an important characteristic of self-interactions, which can potentially be extracted from observational data and provide an important clue as to the nature of dark matter.
PHYSICS OF PLASMAS 21 (2014) ARTN 056106
Scientific reports 4 (2014) 5214-
Here, we report results of an experiment creating a transient, highly correlated carbon state using a combination of optical and x-ray lasers. Scattered x-rays reveal a highly ordered state with an electrostatic energy significantly exceeding the thermal energy of the ions. Strong Coulomb forces are predicted to induce nucleation into a crystalline ion structure within a few picoseconds. However, we observe no evidence of such phase transition after several tens of picoseconds but strong indications for an over-correlated fluid state. The experiment suggests a much slower nucleation and points to an intermediate glassy state where the ions are frozen close to their original positions in the fluid.
MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 439 (2014) 2050-2059
ASTRONOMY & ASTROPHYSICS 570 (2014) ARTN A122
Phys Rev Lett 112 (2014) 015001-
It is possible using current high-intensity laser facilities to reach the quantum radiation reaction regime for energetic electrons. An experiment using a wakefield accelerator to drive GeV electrons into a counterpropagating laser pulse would demonstrate the increase in the yield of high-energy photons caused by the stochastic nature of quantum synchrotron emission: we show that a beam of 10(9) 1 GeV electrons colliding with a 30 fs laser pulse of intensity 10(22) W cm(-2) will emit 6300 photons with energy greater than 700 MeV, 60× the number predicted by classical theory.
NUCLEAR FUSION 54 (2014) ARTN 054004
MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 439 (2014) 1231-1244
Journal of Computational Physics 260 (2014) 273-285
In high-intensity (>1021 Wcm -2) laser-matter interactions gamma-ray photon emission by the electrons can strongly affect the electron's dynamics and copious numbers of electron-positron pairs can be produced by the emitted photons. We show how these processes can be included in simulations by coupling a Monte Carlo algorithm describing the emission to a particle-in-cell code. The Monte Carlo algorithm includes quantum corrections to the photon emission, which we show must be included if the pair production rate is to be correctly determined. The accuracy, convergence and energy conservation properties of the Monte Carlo algorithm are analysed in simple test problems. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Using analytic calculations, the effects of the edge flux surface shape and the toroidal current profile on the penetration of flux surface shaping are investigated in a tokamak. It is shown that the penetration of shaping is determined by the poloidal variation of the poloidal magnetic field on the surface. This fact is used to investigate how different flux surface shapes penetrate from the edge. Then, a technique to separate the effects of magnetic pressure and tension in the Grad-Shafranov equation is presented and used to calculate radial profiles of strong elongation for nearly constant current profiles. Lastly, it is shown that more hollow toroidal current profiles are significantly better at conveying shaping from the edge to the core.
A set of flux tube gyrokinetic equations that includes the effect of the spatial variation of the density, temperature and rotation gradients on the turbulence is derived. This new set of equations uses statistical periodicity as a boundary condition, avoiding the need to impose non-physical boundary conditions. This new approach to global gyrokinetic simulations is shown to be equivalent to the traditional global $\delta f$ gyrokinetic equations when the turbulent eddies are smaller than the characteristic size of the machine.
Self-consistent equations for intrinsic rotation in tokamaks with small poloidal magnetic field $B_p$ compared to the total magnetic field $B$ are derived. The model gives the momentum redistribution due to turbulence, collisional transport and energy injection. Intrinsic rotation is determined by the balance between the momentum redistribution and the turbulent diffusion and convection. Two different turbulence regimes are considered: turbulence with characteristic perpendicular lengths of the order of the ion gyroradius, $\rho_i$, and turbulence with characteristic lengths of the order of the poloidal gyroradius, $(B/B_p) \rho_i$. Intrinsic rotation driven by gyroradius scale turbulence is mainly due to the effect of neoclassical corrections and of finite orbit widths on turbulent momentum transport, whereas for the intrinsic rotation driven by poloidal gyroradius scale turbulence, the slow variation of turbulence characteristics in the radial and poloidal directions and the turbulent particle acceleration can be become as important as the neoclassical and finite orbit width effects. The magnetic drift is shown to be indispensable for the intrinsic rotation driven by the slow variation of turbulence characteristics and the turbulent particle acceleration. The equations are written in a form conducive to implementation in a flux tube code, and the effect of the radial variation of the turbulence is included in a novel way that does not require a global gyrokinetic formalism.
Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 56 (2014)
New acceleration technology is mandatory for the future elucidation of fundamental particles and their interactions. A promising approach is to exploit the properties of plasmas. Past research has focused on creating large-amplitude plasma waves by injecting an intense laser pulse or an electron bunch into the plasma. However, the maximum energy gain of electrons accelerated in a single plasma stage is limited by the energy of the driver. Proton bunches are the most promising drivers of wakefields to accelerate electrons to the TeV energy scale in a single stage. An experimental program at CERN - the AWAKE experiment - has been launched to study in detail the important physical processes and to demonstrate the power of proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration. Here we review the physical principles and some experimental considerations for a future proton-driven plasma wakefield accelerator. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.
We present numerical evidence that in strong Alfv\'enic turbulence, the critical balance principle---equality of the nonlinear decorrelation and linear propagation times---is scale invariant, in the sense that the probability distribution of the ratio of these times is independent of scale. This result only holds if the local alignment of the Elsasser fields is taken into account in calculating the nonlinear time. At any given scale, the degree of alignment is found to increase with fluctuation amplitude, supporting the idea that the cause of alignment is mutual dynamical shearing of Elsasser fields. The scale-invariance of critical balance (while all other quantities of interest are strongly intermittent, i.e., have scale-dependent distributions) suggests that it is the most robust of the scaling principles used to describe Alfv\'enic turbulence.
MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY 442 (2014) L81-L84